Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beware of Thirsty Beavers

Best trails ever, that's what the volunteers said was coming up. Woohoo, I could use some of that BC single track love right about now. Remember, I am a mountain biker who did a 100 mile mountain bike race, I have this in the bag. That was what I was thinking when we made the turn onto the Thirsty Beaver trail. About 100 metres in I decided that I had misheard the volunteers and they had said something more like 'beaver tails are evil'. Have I mentioned that it was raining and the trails were wet? Have I also mentioned that I live and ride in Southern California? Well, just to be absolutely clear, mud is not something I am very familiar with and mud was everywhere. Not only that but the roots and logs were very wet and slippery. I felt like I had entered an evil spooky forest.

Seriously, the roots and branches were reaching out to grab me and the mud pits were sinking mud pits where I would get sucked in and never get back out. I was imagining Jason coming back to try and find me and only seeing my John Deer hat floating on the surface. At the same time, I was trying to figure out how the beaver could possibly be thirsty, there was water everywhere I looked. Perhaps, the beaver didn't drink water. This made me start to ponder all that I know about beavers, and I am not ashamed to say I do know a few things about beavers. I'm Canadian and it is our national animal, what did you think I meant? Anyways, I know that the beaver will use it's tail to slap the water to warn other beavers of danger. Um, maybe he was too busy looking for a drink cause the damn beaver didn't warn me and there was danger around every bend.  I also know that beavers feed on trees bark and roots and use the trees to build their homes. With all the stumps that I noticed (mostly I noticed them with my front tire) I figure that this particular beaver is living in his very own McMansion.

This is a hovel compared to what this beaver built!

Beavers also mark their territory by scenting mounds of mud with glandular secretions. By the end of the day, with all the mud I managed to land in and accumulate on me, I was owned by the beaver. The beaver is very graceful in the water and awkward on land. Hm, sounds like me during MOMAR, I was great until we got on land.

Looks friendly enough, but they are vicious!

Not only were there many, many, many mud pits and large logs and roots to contend with, there were also bridges everywhere. After the two earlier (violent) crashes that I had orchestrated, I had to assess my risk and reward. I rode across a few and noticed that the wood was very slippery and the higher the bridge got off the ground, the higher the risk became. Of course, I also had in the back of my mind the royal pain involved in using my health insurance out of country and getting reimbursement and all that rig a ma roll. Mostly though I just didn't trust that I could stay on the bridge, they were not wide. Jason tried to reason with me by saying that they were the width of single track and that I hadn't fallen off the trail. WHERE had he been all day? I mean, did that stick in the middle of the trail ram into his knee? NO, perhaps because the stick wasn't on the trail and I had in fact fallen off the side of the trail several times! My decision was quickly validated when I had walked across a bridge to witness the guy behind me tumble off of it in his attempt to ride. Here is a picture of Jason riding one of the bridges. Look in the background of this photo and you will see me avoiding further injury.

During my encounter with this rather evil and malicious animal the F'ing Thirsty Beaver, and trust me I can not say it without the F bomb, I realized that the only thing the beaver was thirsty for was my blood! Funny thing is all the locals loved the Thirsty Beaver and there is even a shrine to him with sacrificial beers.

Look closely, that F'ing Beaver is smirking!

I guess Jason didn't feel he got to spend enough time with the Thirsty Beaver, or maybe he just hadn't heard me rant and swear enough. Next time, Mr Thirsty Beaver I will be prepared but I will never be a lover of  beaver;)

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